I’ll admit it: I’m a big passive-aggressive baby. I ended up out of the house for most of yesterday, trying to avoid dealing with Bio-Dad in person if he just stopped by. Of course if he called I would have answered.
Bailey and I went to Michael’s in the morning. They were having a family fun event (read: ad for Crayola). Then we went for lunch and popped by Toys R Us to pick up something for our friends and their new baby.
We went home for a little while, and I wrote an email to Bio-Dad. See? I’m a Big Chicken. Oh, I should be more compassionate with myself though. I am taking steps to help myself feel more comfortable with confrontation. Here’s what I wrote (it’s kind of long but it’s in italics so you can scroll down past it if you want.):
Hopefully while you are at your parents you are able to check your email. I have wanted to talk to you for awhile now, but I don’t want to use your cell phone number without your permission, and I don’t know if you have email where you are.
The last time you were in town I was happy that you and Bailey had such a great visit. About a week later though, Bailey came to me in tears and told me that you were drinking and driving while she was with you. Bailey told me that you had at least two beer (she thinks possibly three) and some clear liquid in a square glass bottle. She also told me that she has seen a bottle of mouthwash in your car, and she believes you use this to mask the smell of alcohol on your breath.
Knowing this, if I continue to allow Bailey to ride in a vehicle driven by you I will be guilty of child endangerment. Bailey is absolutely heartbroken about your decision to drink and drive, and tells me she doesn’t feel safe being with you. I want the two of you to have a relationship still, and when I told her this she said that maybe in the future you could visit her here at our apartment or on our lawn. I have no problem with this, but I understand that it might feel awkward. I am also willing to allow a visit at your parent’s house, but I must insist that they know the reason for the supervised visit. (I have not told them anything yet.) A third option is that I could drop Bailey off at a restaurant or playground, let you visit for a couple/few hours, and then pick her up.
There has been some talk of her wanting to see you in Vancouver. I am not comfortable with this, but I am willing to explore options that would keep Bailey safe. Likely this would involve my letting your parents know about why I am not allowing Bailey to ride in a vehicle driven by you anymore.
I hope you understand my reasons for this. As I said, I do not want to keep you from seeing her, and I hope that my proposed solutions are fair and reasonable. Bailey is, I think, very angry about your drinking, and it comes up often in conversation. I do my best to let her know that you love her very much, and I never say anything bad about you to her.
As someone who used to be very close to you, and as the mother of your daughter, I am asking you to please examine how your drinking is negatively affecting your life. I recently watched the video of Bailey when she was a baby, and I remember what a truly excellent father you are. Please consider getting yourself some help. I don’t want to see your relationship with Bailey destroyed.
I apologize for doing this in an email. My biggest weakness is fear of confrontation, and while I would prefer to be courageous enough to do this face-to-face or over the phone, I am simply not there yet.
If you wish to discuss this further please feel free to email me back, or phone me.
I read it to my sister over the phone before I sent it, and I couldn’t do it without crying.
After I emailed it Bailey and I did some grocery shopping. It was getting to be late afternoon and we still hadn’t heard from her dad. While at Safeway we got a break-open when we paid, and won a hat and a water bottle. Bailey was so excited that she was dancing! It was really cute.
After supper we heard from Bailey’s grandparents. They were just coming back into town from a day in Kelowna and thought they’d stop by to pick up Bailey and were hoping to keep her overnight so she could visit her dad. After I hung up with them Bailey advised me that she didn’t feel comfortable with the plan. By that time her grandparents were outside waiting (they had called me from the highway) so I went outside and explained the situation to them. I hadn’t intended on telling them about the drinking and driving but it all spilled out.
I’m actually really glad I told them. I should have known they’d understand and be on my side. They helped me out many times when I was married to Bio-Dad, including watching Bailey for me the day I had to go get him out of jail for drinking and driving.
His parents were very understanding that Bailey only wanted to stay for a couple of hours, and told me that they would talk to him about my decision to not let him drive with Bailey anymore. What a relief! They think he has a personality disorder, and say they have been working hard with him over the past year or so.
Today Bailey went with her grandparents to see some newborn lambs. Right after that we went to see our friends’ new baby.
Bailey holding Baby Easton, 3 days old!
Oh man, what a sweet, tiny baby! Mom is doing amazingly well, considering she had a C-Section.
Bailey was fading fast afterwards, but Steve had promised to take her swimming. We knew she would be out of sorts today after seeing her Dad yesterday, so we had resolved to be extra compassionate and patient, but we were really struggling. Finally we got a bit of food into her a headed up to the pool with her friend. Steve and I sat on the sidelines and watched because he was having an allergic reaction from our friends’ cat. While we sat there we went through some baby names. (Nebuchadnezzar sound okay?)
After swimming Bailey was feeling even worse. I needed all hands on deck because we had to get supper made, and I was expecting company that evening so I wanted the home to be tidy. Bailey was pushing our buttons, and Steve and I weren’t coping very well with it. She eventually calmed down though, and so did we.
What a challenging weekend! All in all, though, I’d say I dealt with everything quite well. And one more thing is off my to-do list! Talk to Bio-Dad about his behaviour? Check!